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Medical student honored for oral presentation on mask-masking

Ryan Higgins, a second-year medical student in the University Park Curriculum of Penn State College of Medicine’s MD Program, presented at the fifth annual Mount Sinai Medical Center Medical Student Ethics Conference. This year’s conference was titled “Becoming a Physician: Ethical Challenges in Medical Education.”

Because of the need to hold the event virtually due to COVID-19, Mount Sinai opened its submissions for presentations internationally.

Higgins was honored with the best abstract/presentation award for his oral presentation in the category “True Self or Professional Self: Challenges in Forming Identity.”

His project, “Mask-Making: An Autoethnographic Examination of Professional Identity in Undergraduate Medical Education,” also involved co-contributors Lauren Pomerantz, a first-year medical student in the University Park Curriculum, and Mark Stephens, MD, MS, a professor of family and community medicine and humanities who teaches medical students in University Park.

Dr. Stephens’ “Unmasking Identity” project, upon which Higgins’ presentation was based, encourages medical students, professionals and community members to use the visual medium of mask-making to examine core elements of true (inner) and projected (outer) selves as a means to develop an authentic professional identity.

See more about the mask project here

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